Tuesday, April 11, 2017


Longing for signs of spring on a sunny, 70-degree day, I headed down to the Smarts Brook area, where I figured I could find some bare ground hardwoods on the south-facing slopes of Acteon Ridge. I found a variety of conditions and much of interest along this six-mile bushwhack loop over Middle Acteon Peak.

Even the small brooks run strong in April.

Bare ground, baby!

Rocky terrain.

Turkey tracks.

A huge old oak.

I believe this scuffing of the leaf litter is from foraging turkeys.

This towering white pine dwarfs the hardwoods on a steep slope.

A small stream issues from this jumble of boulders.

Looking down the slope from a rocky promontory.

This is what I was looking for!

A lichen-crusted boulder.

A fine hardwood glade on a 1900-ft. plateau, where the mushy snow reappeared.

Making snowshoe tracks through open spruce forest. The snowshoes went on and off at least a half-dozen times today.

Another hardwood plateau below the Bald Knob-Acteon Peak col.

A picturesque ledge wall.

A steep rock face hidden in the forest.

A steep and rocky oak-clad slope en route to Middle Acteon Peak.

Looking back down that slope.

Moose scrapings.

A viewless ledge on the ridgecrest.

Open woods heading up Acteon Ridge.

Sandwich Dome and Black Mountain from a great view ledge on Middle Acteon Peak.

Adding Jennings Peak and Sachem Peak to the view.

View south down the valley to the Campton Range.

Tenney, Cardigan and Stinson in the distance.

Welcome to spring!

Logbook entry at the 2489-ft. peak. This was my fourth visit here in the last 15 months. I like this place.

I checked out several other ledges close to the summit.

Looking to Sandwich Notch from a perch nearly as fine as my snoozing ledge.

Moose have been active on Acteon Ridge.

Some good early spring birding today, including this surprise look at a Palm Warbler while descending off the peak. This is one of the early wood warbler migrants. Also today, I heard a Saw-Whet Owl from the view ledge, and spotted a Boreal Chickadee and Red-Tailed Hawk. Also heard my first Winter Wrens and Brown Creepers of the season, and flushed two Hermit Thrushes.

A neat rock overhang.

I took a different route down this time, descending south towards Smarts Brook. There was some nice open hemlock/spruce forest for a while.

A random ledge in the woods.

A pool on Smarts Brook. The water was a bit high, but I was able to cross on rocks just upstream.

The rock crossing I used.

The ice was going out at the Smarts Brook beaver pond.

The beavers have been working on this tree for a while.

Rapids on Smarts Brook.

Smarts Brook Cascade was rocking from the snowmelt.

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